By Andrea Six, Empa
Daniele Passerone, an expert for modelling of materials and nanosystems at the atomistic level, is currently a lecturer at the Department of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering at ETH Zurich and a group leader at Empa. He is now appointed titular professor at ETH Zurich. He has a very successful publication history and teaches with consistently positive evaluations.
Daniele Passerone received his Bachelor in Physics from the University of Genoa in 1994 and his PhD in Condensed Matter Theory from the International School for Advanced Studies in Trieste (Italy) in 1998. After a Humboldt Fellowship in Stuttgart (Germany) in the group of Michele Parrinello, he followed Parrinello as Postdoctoral Researcher to Lugano. After further postdoctoral appointments in Zurich, he joined Empa in 2006. He is currently leading the Atomistic Simulations Group of the nanotech@surfaces laboratory, has initiated the local computer cluster and, after guiding the inclusion into the Swiss high-performance computing (HPC) initiatives and the collaboration with the Swiss National Supercomputing Center (CSCS) in Lugano, he coordinates Empa and Eawag HPC activities.
He has a background in surface science and classical molecular dynamics applied to phase transitions in crystals and rare events, as well as electronic structure calculations applied to surface chemical reactions. By applying density functional theory in the field of heterogeneous catalysis, Passerone is for example aiming at explaining at a fundamental level why certain materials can recognize and select a chirality in a process, an issue of extreme interest in chemical and pharmaceutical research and development.
The activities of Passerone's atomistic simulation group range from the modelling of atomic, electronic, and scanning tunneling microscopy, through the thermodynamics of growth and structural/electronic properties of clusters, materials and films, up to the investigation of surface-supported nanostructures. The group steadily pursues joint investigation strategies with experimental groups in order to make atomistic modelling quantitative and predictive. In close collaboration with his modeler colleague Carlo Pignedoli and the experimental groups headed by Roman Fasel, the group has been focusing in particular on the design and characterization of novel graphene-related nanostructures (nanoribbons) with fascinating properties.
Recently, Passerone’s group has been involved in, and supported by, the NCCR MARVEL (National Competence Center for Development of Novel Materials with the Computer) and a sizeable effort is presently devoted to the development of tools for systematic screening of low-dimensional materials and efficient, user-friendly and widely available data basing of the results. This “change of mind” that will further close the gap between experimentalists and modelers.
Within MARVEL, Passerone in collaboration with Matthieu Luisier at ETH Zurich and Nicola Marzari at EPFL has extended the scope of his theoretical investigations to describe the properties of nanotransistors based on graphene-derived nanostructures developed at Empa in the sections lead by Roman Fasel and Michel Calame, including electronic screening and correlation when deriving transport properties in realistic systems.
Daniele Passerone is Board Member of the Swiss Association of Computational Chemists and has published more than 100 papers in international journals.
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